Sales is the lifeblood of every business. If you’re not making sales, you don’t have a business. Instead, you have a hobby. Still, “sales” as a profession and as a function is sinking. It’s dying a slow death and branding has everything to do with it. The best sales advice for small businesses isn’t to sell at all, it is to build a brand.

When was the last time someone sold you something? Industries that have historically been dominated by sales professionals and a sales driven business model are dying. Car dealerships are adopting the one-price, no-haggle strategy. Bookstores, department stores and pharmacies are almost all self-service retailers.

The reality is that we usually buy at our own discretion. Branding should help your customer make it easier for them to buy from you (or not). The function of selling has died with the rise of branding. Good news is that now your brand is selling for you. Your brand’s reputation has now taken the place of the personal recommendation of a sales person.

Branding helps “pre-sell” your company, product or service. 

Branding is simply a more efficient way to sell things. There is a shift from selling things to customers choosing things. This shift is caused by, accelerated by, and enhanced by brands. The power of a brand lies in its ability to influence purchasing behavior, and this power comes not from a name or logo on a package, but from how this brand resonates in your customers’ minds.

And the truth is that today you can brand anything — from products, services, and even commodities. Water, the most widespread commodity of all (that we can get clean and free) is available in many branded options — for a price. And, many of us will buy water by the caseload.

Do you think a salesperson could sell you on purchasing a product or service that is readily available for free? Maybe. But they would have to be a damn good salesperson to do so, whereas brands do this all the time.

Additionally, consumers are used to interacting with well developed brands that when they come across a brand that isn’t well developed they know something is off and they choose to go with a more defined and developed competitor.

The point? You need revenue in order to have a successful company. To generate revenue, you need to sell. And, to make it easier for you to generate sales, you need a strong brand. A clear message. And, a unique selling proposition.

The best sales advice for small businesses isn’t to sell at all, it is to build a brand. Your brand can become your best salesperson. So make your life easier and let your brand do the heavy lifting for you.

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